Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Reminiscence of a one-time goblin

When the world was young, and I a child
Both of us were pretty wild
We scared the nervous and the old
Behaving carelessly and bold
With menace, malice and mad valor
We gave the frail and wan new pallor.
We never feared the mossy trees,
Reptiles, spiders or disease
We didn't mind the call to war,
Blood or bile or wile or gore.
We didn't jump at sudden sounds
Or angry barks from sloppy hounds,
We horrified for help and health
With naught to love but fear itself.

Now ancient evil's smoothly worn
As dolorous new wrongs are born
As sorry fools grow rich and famous
When we charge, there's none can blame us.
When parents join in trick-or-treating
The wilderness must be retreating
And once the worst have been defrauded,
Our misbehavior is applauded.
So, middle-aged and tamed, you see,
We've come to fear longevity.

HALLOWED, p.p. Justified by fate.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007


LEVELER, n.  The kind of political and social reformer who is more concerned to bring others down to his plane than to lift himself to theirs.

2007 Update:  Wisdom.

Happy birthday to Sister Aral Patricia

Monday, October 29, 2007


LACE, n. A delicate and costly textile fabric with which the female soul is netted like a fish.

The devil casting a seine of lace
(With precious stones 'twas weighted)
Drew it in to the landing place
And its contents calculated:

All souls of women were in that sack-
A draught miraculous, precious!
But ere he could throw it across his back
They'd all escaped through the meshes.

2007 Update: A delicate, transparent and interstitial cloth meant to represent the uprightness and sophistication of the wearer, bearer or bride, a service it fulfills admirably.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Shahrazade's Wedding, Part II

Because A Thousand and One Nights Are Never Enough

To hear the story, sit by the board

To read the story, look over the Princess' shoulder

Friday, October 26, 2007


FREEMASONS, n. An order with secret rites, grotesque ceremonies and fantastic costumes, which, originating in the reign of Charles II, among working artisans of London, has been joined successively by the dead of past centuries in unbroken retrogression until now it embraces all the generations of man on the hither side of Adam and is drumming up distinguished recruits among the pre-Creational inhabitants of Chaos and Formless Void. The order was founded at different times by Charlemagne, Julius Caesar, Cyrus, Solomon, Zoroaster, Confucious, Thothmes, and Buddha. Its emblems and symbols have been found in the Catacombs of Paris and Rome, on the stones of the Parthenon and the Chinese Great Wall, among the temples of Karnak and Palmyra and in the Egyptian Pyramids — always by a Freemason.

2007 Update: One of the countless cabals, collusions and conspiracies usurping the right of the unaffiliated to enjoy majority rule.

Thursday, October 25, 2007


FEAST, n. A festival. A religious celebration usually signalized by gluttony and drunkenness, frequently in honor of some holy person distinguished for abstemiousness. In the Roman Catholic Church feasts are "movable" and "immovable," but the celebrants are uniformly immovable until they are full. In their earliest development these entertainments took the form of feasts for the dead; such were held by the Greeks, under the name Nemeseia, by the Aztecs and Peruvians, as in modern times they are popular with the Chinese; though it is believed that the ancient dead, like the modern, were light eaters. Among the many feasts of the Romans was the Novemdiale, which was held, according to Livy, whenever stones fell from heaven.

2007 Update:  A lush path to desert, as the stomach is the way to a man's heart.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

The Price of Experience

What is the price of experience?  Do men buy it for a song?
Or for illuminated verse, unmetered, unrhymed and long?
Can wisdom be found in the apostrophe truncating
Cascading lines that wand'r contemplating?
Can a poem bridle life's urgent restrictions,
In hand-written text or illustrat'd editions?
No! For truth to emerge, it must puncture the skin
And grind down the slave from without, not within.
Wisdom is gain'd in forests, not of simile but trees.
But for song, sketch or haircut one can buy expertise.

CALLOUS, n.  Reality, metaphorically.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007


FUNCTIONARY, n.  A person entrusted with certain official duties.  That great and good man, the late President Buchanan, once unluckily mentioned himself with commendable satisfaction as "an old public functionary."  The description fitted him like a skin and he wore it to his grave.  When he appeared at the Judgement Seat, and his case was called, the Recording Angel ran his finger down the index to the Book of Doom and read off the name: "James Buchanan, O.P.F."  "What does that mean?"  inquired the Court.  And with that readiness of resource which in life had distinguished it from a garden-slug, that truthful immortal part replied: "Oncommonly phaultless filanthropist."  Mister Buchanan was admitted to a seat in the Upper House.

2007 Update:  A mechanic general, charged with oiling certain gears of the civic machinery with ink.

Monday, October 22, 2007


FICKLENESS, n. The iterated satiety of an enterprising affection.

2007 Update: The collusion between an otter's spirit, a cat's heart and the imagination of man.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Shahrazade's Wedding, Part I

Because A Thousand and One Nights Are Never Enough

To hear the story, click on the happy couple

To read the story, come to Persia

Need filler?  This ought to get us near to January and another shared story.

Friday, October 19, 2007


ROSE, n.  Same thing as a skunk.
A Rose by any other name would smell as sweet.

2007 Update: A source for attar, thorns and a potpourri of cliché.

Thursday, October 18, 2007


ROOMY, adj.  Hades.

2007 Update: Big enough to move about but too small for one more, as a hotel room, walk-in closet or the United States.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

To a dead British poet who assayed the veins of the human heart weighing lead and gold together

I envy not on any morn
The celebrants on papered grasses,
Extending toasts and raising glasses
While holding in their scorn.

I would not imitate, though able,
Those who laugh in ennui,
And gossip over sweetened tea
As if others' trysts set up the table.

Nor would I count those two as blest,
Who as one live out their days
Hand in hand and eyes in glaze,
The cloth of life, that in which they're dressed.

For the truth of living and its price
Is that no life can be lived fully
With heart so yoked and mind so gullied
One turns to poets for advice.

'Tis better to have lived alone
 Than to waste each hour twice.
-Elijah Serf Jenkins

BEATITUDE, n.  A blessing on the wanting.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007


RADICALISM, n.  The conservatism of to-morrow injected into the affairs of to-day.

2007 Update:  Ideology in an igneous id.

Monday, October 15, 2007


RACK, n. An argumentative implement formerly much used in persuading devotees of a false faith to embrace the living truth. As a call to the unconverted the rack never had any particular efficacy, and is now held in light popular esteem.

2007 Update:  That which inspires breakage in a pool hall.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

The Fate of The Fates

The Epilogue of The Meditations of Diogenes The Cynic.

To hear the story, listen to the voice of fate.

To read the story, pull the thread.

Thank you all for sticking with this and making it such a good time. I'd like you all to have the 2-CD collection of readings by Christmasish time.  For that I need addresses which can be home, general delivery, your lawyer's office, the FBI Special Stalker Unit, etc. as long as the discs will reach you.  Email me at dpascover at mac dot com. 

If anyone would like to read the full story, if only to catch editorial mistakes, click here.

Friday, October 12, 2007


GRACES, n. Three beautiful goddesses, Aglaia, Thalia and Euphrosyne, who attended upon Venus, serving without salary. They were at no expense for board and clothing, for they ate nothing to speak of and dressed according to the weather, wearing whatever breeze happened to be blowing.

2007 Update:  Begging the pardon of someone not privileged to grant it.

Thursday, October 11, 2007


GUNPOWDER, n. An agency employed by civilized nations for the settlement of disputes which might become troublesome if left unadjusted. By most writers the invention of gunpowder is ascribed to the Chinese, but not upon very convincing evidence. Milton says it was invented by the devil to dispel angels with, and this opinion seems to derive some support from the scarcity of angels. Moreover, it has the hearty concurrence of the Hon. James Wilson, Secretary of Agriculture.

Secretary Wilson became interested in gunpowder through an event that occurred on the Government experimental farm in the District of Columbia. One day, several years ago, a rogue imperfectly reverent of the Secretary's profound attainments and personal character presented him with a sack of gunpowder, representing it as the seed of the Flashawful flabbergastor, a Patagonian cereal of great commercial value, admirably adapted to this climate. The good Secretary was instructed to spill it along in a furrow and afterward inhume it with soil. This he at once proceeded to do, and had made a continuous line of it all the way across a ten-acre field, when he was made to look backward by a shout from the generous donor, who at once dropped a lighted match into the furrow at the starting-point. Contact with the earth had somewhat dampened the powder, but the startled functionary saw himself pursued by a tall moving pillar of fire and smoke and fierce evolution. He stood for a moment paralyzed and speechless, then he recollected an engagement and, dropping all, absented himself thence with such surprising celerity that to the eyes of spectators along the route selected he appeared like a long, dim streak prolonging itself with inconceivable rapidity through seven villages, and audibly refusing to be comforted. "Great Scott! what is that?" cried a surveyor's chainman, shading his eyes and gazing at the fading line of agriculturist which bisected his visible horizon. "That," said the surveyor, carelessly glancing at the phenomenon and again centering his attention upon his instrument, "is the Meridian of Washington."

2007 Update:  The aspirations of men, in the dried and powdered form.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Thinking Aloud

How do we measure an idea?
By whether it makes you wiser or freer?
By echoes rung from mumbling lips?
By boats afloat on questing trips?
By whether it can start a war?
By poetry and metaphor?
By destruction of our walls and fences,
Or inflation of pretenses?
By orators who take up the cause
And promulgation of new laws?
By if it gives your spirit wings
Or your pocket cash to spend on things?
Whatever thought quickens your blood,
If it gets through Congress, it's a dud.

FIRST PRINCIPLE, n.  An Afterthought.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007


GUILLOTINE, n. A machine which makes a Frenchman shrug his shoulders with good reason.

In his great work on Divergent Lines of Racial Evolution, the learned Professor Brayfugle argues from the prevalence of this gesture — the shrug — among Frenchmen, that they are descended from turtles and it is simply a survival of the habit of retracing the head inside the shell. It is with reluctance that I differ with so eminent an authority, but in my judgment (as more elaborately set forth and enforced in my work entitled Hereditary Emotions — lib. II, c. XI) the shrug is a poor foundation upon which to build so important a theory, for previously to the Revolution the gesture was unknown. I have not a doubt that it is directly referable to the terror inspired by the guillotine during the period of that instrument's activity.

2007 Update: A ruthless, efficient and democratic alternative to the electoral college or parliamentary procedure, although still far too kind.

A duke, despot, pasha or clown
Might well lose a head to the town.
But however truncated,
Tyranny's unabated,
Lost on the scaffold, found on the ground.

Monday, October 08, 2007


GUM, n. A substance greatly used by young women in place of a contented spirit and religious consolation.

2007 Update: The common term for the gingiva which restrain the tongue and project the incisors, enabling organized religion.

Saturday, October 06, 2007

Among The Olives

Episode 40 of 40 (plus an epilogue) in The Meditations of Diogenes The Cynic.

To hear the story, come in among the olives.

Say "Goodbye," Philosopher.

Friday, October 05, 2007


BIGOT, n. One who is obstinately and zealously attached to an opinion that you do not entertain.

2007 Update: Someone who fails to recognize the inferiority of his own kind, as well.

Thursday, October 04, 2007


BOUNDARY, n. In political geography, an imaginary line between two nations, separating the imaginary rights of one from the imaginary rights of the other.

2007 Update:  The length and breadth of the national interest.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007


The waves, they rose high,
The fog settled low
And a reef was scratching the keel
When the old Captain
Put down his pipe
And set back the remains of his meal.

"The voyage goes badly!"
The old captain bellowed,
"By mornin', this ship will be lumber.
"The compass is off,
The map is misplaced,
And the cabin boy couldn't be dumber."

"The cargo is poor
And we would be off course,
If our course, in the first place, were known.
The food has run thin
The water's grown thick
And the sails are too torn to be blown.

"The crewmen are drunk,
The officers, addled,
And if I'm once more to see Dover
Two choices I have:
Abandon the ship
Or mutiny and take her over."
-Adm. James L. Dobson, HMN

LEADERSHIP, n.  The maintenance of martyrdom.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007


BED, n.  A rack for the torture of the wicked; a citadel unfortified against remorse.

2007 Update:  The ferry that carries passion to the mill.

Monday, October 01, 2007


BALLOON, n.  A contrivance for larding the earth with the fat of fools.

2007 Update: A decoy daddy.

Rabbit rabbit